Today in 1935, in a letter addressed to Adolfo Casais Monteiro, Fernando Pessoa tells the origin of the heteronyms; by the time he was six he had created his first "imaginary friend", Chevalier de Pas.
I don't want to make a treatise on Pessoa, one of the greatest European poets, but I think he has been one of the greatest poets who ever lived.
Insted I want to talk about the question of heteronyms and why this poet resonates so much in me and has had an influence on my life, my way of thinking and even my work with dolls.
What a heteronomy is?
The word heteronym comes from the Greek 'heteros' which means 'other than oneself' and 'onoma' which means 'name'.
The heteronym is a character other than oneself who has his own personality, his own life, his ideas, don't you think this is also the actor's work when he studies a character to represent him by acting? (the theater always comes back!)
Pessoa lived with many heteronyms, some passengers, some who accompanied him throughout his adult life.
The heteromins of Pessoa
It has been said of Pessoa that heteronyms could be a literary device but those who know his biography and poetics well know that this is not the case, or at least that's not all.
Pessoa gave voice to more characters who lived with his main personality and who had name, surname and biography.
The main ones were:
- Ricardo Reis: a doctor who calls himself a Latinist and monarchist who embodies classical culture.
- Alvaro De Campos: engineer and poet, author of one of Pessoa's most famous poems, Tabacaria.
- Alberto Caeiro: farmer, poet-philosopher, he did not academic studies at all but he is considered by Pessoa and by the other heteronyms as 'the master'
Bernardo Soares: the tormented author of the Livro do desassossego, The Book of Disquiet, considered one of the greatest works of Portuguese literature of the twentieth
Bernardo Soares is an office employee, just like Pessoa, and he is the one who comes closest to the poet's personality, in fact Pessoa himself defines him as follows: "a simple mutilation of my personality: it's me without reasoning and affectivity"
However, it is estimated that he came to have more than 80 heteronyms.
Gli eteronimi sono una sorta di "amici immaginari", Pessoa stesso afferma:"questa tendenza a crearsi amici immaginari non passò con l'infanzia, si sviluppò nell'adolescenza, si radicò con la crescita, divenne alla fine la forma naturale del mio spirito. Oggi ormai non ho personalità: quanto in me ci può essere di umano l'ho diviso tra gli autori vari della cui opera sono stato l'esecutore. Sono oggi il punto di riunione di una piccola umanità solo mia"
Pessoa the introvert and the extrovert
Pessoa with his heteronyms constantly struggles between two characters of the human soul: the introvert that is predominant in him and the extrovert that cannot be canceled.
In short, when you love an author you always have the impression of having a special relationship with him, the impression that he is speaking to the deepest part of us, his words seem to rest on the deepest part of our soul. And this is being a great poet.
With Pessoa I share this eternal struggle between opening me to the world and closing myself in my little room, I feel I share this multitude of voices, this struggle between hiding and showing oneself and also the yearning of feeling.
Fernando Pessoa is a normal man, almost anonymous, he is an office clerk, an accountant. His name sounds like a destiny, Pessoa in Portuguese means "person" but Pessoa is anything but an ordinary man, he is a person who contains a multitude, he is a poignant man and so is his only love story to which will voluntarily give up. But this is a story that I will tell you next time.
Keep an eye on my shop is for the new literary boxes are coming up, including the one you see in the photos dedicated to Pessoa, soon in my Etsy shop.